space shuttles
February 24, 2011 7:54 PM   Subscribe

I cannot find out where the space shuttles were physically built; gave up on WIKI. They were built by Rockwell International (?), but plants are located all over the US.
posted by broadmargins to Technology (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You're looking for the assembly hangars really, they weren't built in any one location. Components were sourced from all over the place, tested, integrated, tested, then finally assembled as large components.
posted by iamabot at 8:01 PM on February 24, 2011

NASA says the orbiter is assembled in Palmdale, CA (Googled for 'space shuttle built,' fifth result).
posted by box at 8:02 PM on February 24, 2011

The finial assembly was at a boeing plant in palmdale, ca.
posted by ihadapony at 8:03 PM on February 24, 2011

Googling suggests final assembly at Palmdale CA.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:03 PM on February 24, 2011

Yup, and that's one of the arguments for having one of the three retired shuttles end up over there in LA some place. Of course, Houston, KSC, Huntsville, Smithsonian .. all have equally good arguments. We'll know soon.
posted by intermod at 8:22 PM on February 24, 2011

I had always been told in school and on field trips to the Rockwell plant that the Apollo spacecrafts and Space Shuttles were assembled in my hometown of Downey, CA.

From the Aerospace Legacy Foundation:
Recovering from the end of the Apollo program, the Downey plant had now been given another historic assignment by NASA: subassembly and component manufacture and testing of the first reusable spacecraft- the Space Shuttle orbiters. Over the next 13 years, four space-rated orbiters- The Columbia; Challenger; the Discovery; and the Atlantis- were constructed at the plant. The Enterprise, a test craft used in atmospheric flight to verify aerodynamic and control characteristics of the orbiter design, was also produced, as well as the Space Shuttle Endeavor, which was commissioned as a replacement for challenger, which was destroyed shortly after take off in 1986.

I never get a chance to brag about my humble little hometown, so I'm going to take this opportunity to shoehorn some useless facts into this thread. Downey was the birthplace of Taco Bell, is the home of the oldest surviving McDonald's, and The Carpenters went to my high school and sang with my aunt in the church choir. You will be a better, more interesting person for knowing these things. Downey!!
posted by HotPatatta at 8:39 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Its sort of a complicated question and everyone here so far is right, despite the seeming contradictions. Rockwell's Space Transportation Systems Division was the prime contractor and they are located in Downey, CA. Most of the subassemblies like the crew module and frame construction took place in Downey. They eventually sent the frame and modules to Palmdale (some major components, like the wings, are made by other companies and shipped to Palmdale as well). The final assembly is indeed done there, where the shuttle can then be rolled out down the street to Edwards for transport to Florida. Here are some good pictures of the assembly although some of the text is inaccurate.
posted by Lame_username at 12:42 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

External Fuel Tank was built in New Orleans at the Michoud Assembly Center.
posted by govtdrone at 4:55 AM on February 25, 2011

All I can add to this is that Columbia's doors were built (at least in some part) at Rockwell in Tulsa, OK. My grandfather welded on them.
posted by Shohn at 5:40 AM on February 25, 2011

Final assembly by Rockwell at their Palmdale facility, many components came from all over the country, however.

External tanks come form New Orleans, Solid Rockets from Utah.
posted by tgrundke at 8:39 AM on February 25, 2011

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